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I bid adieu, offer a farewell, and a final re-post

August 22, 2010

Thank you to all of the readers out there that came back to support the blog. I never wanted to compete against the big boy blogs of making this site a one-stop-shop for all things Celtics– I simply wanted to write what I knew and thought. I wanted to be a companion blog, and I think that I found a small niche among some loyal readers. For the last 2 years, this was an outlet for me to think and talk Celtics without having to do either incessantly to and with the general public. To all of the folks that helped spread the word about this blog, I give you as a BIG thank you. It was generous and kind of you, and I am incredibly grateful.

I will still be photoshop’ing pictures during the season, and will try to parade them around to others.

I leave you all with my final thoughts about the 2010 team– a re-post about a team that wrenched my heart, torched my soul, and gave me fuel for the future.

Again, thank you.

Ummmm. Yeah. We can still have fun at his expense.

Ummmm. Yeah. We can still have fun at his expense.

It’s too bad.
With about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, Rondo started on an epic drive to the hoop, shredding the Lakers defenders, leaping toward the hoop, and sinking a layup that put his Celtics up 49-36. A 13 point lead. In game 7. Of the NBA Finals.

I started to give the “I am really uneasy about this game but oh my god it really could happen but I am still really unsettled” type of look to the people around me. My buddy Sean had the exact look on his face.

I guess there was a reason for that we both had this look.

But I defaulted to doing what I hate doing: romanticizing about how this game was going to end before it was even over. With still almost 20 minutes left to play, just under half the game, I was thinking about how poetically just it would be for Kobe Bryant to win the NBA Finals MVP while the Celtics hoisted up the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kobe Bryant could then join Jerry West as the only other Finals MVP that was not on the winning team (1969 against none other than the Boston Celtics). How fitting would it be that one of the most self-indulgent and selfish players to ever play the game be marked as the single best player in a series but fall on the losing end of things? And that the only two people to be in this company would be the former General Manager of the Lakers that drafted his high school hot shot and years later would proclaim him as the best shooting guard of all time? Better than The Logo himself? Better than the cold-blooded assassin in a Bulls uniform? And finally, that Kobe could join Jerry West in saying, “I never beat the Celtics in the Finals.”

But as much as it pains me that this revisionist ending was not a reality, one where Kobe plays the fool, it pains me even more to see this Celtics team lose by 4 points after holding a 13 point lead in a game 7 in the Finals against the Lakers. I wanted this team of scrappy vets to win. I wanted professional basketball to reward guts and glory of a team instead of flashes of brilliance from a couple of individuals. I wanted a coach that has endured so much criticism for the way his management style played out this season to reap the benefits of trusting his instincts. I wanted the players to collapse on the court of their rivals knowing that they just won their second title in three years because they made a commitment to defense and playing team ball. The Celtics epitomize unselfish basketball through their help defense (ie, not throwing teammates under the bus) and they always make the extra pass to get a better look and defer to get other guys going– almost to a fault. This team deserve to win because of their character just as much as the Lakers deserved to win because they were simply the more skilled team.

No dice.

No dice.

As I said in my last post, I don’t recall in recent memory when a team up 3-2 in a 7 game series went into the decisive seventh game as an underdog. The Celtics were a mere 4 points away from stealing the Finals away from Kobe, Phil, and the Lakers. Really, the Celtics were a crazy three away made by an even crazier person (Ron Artest: Queensbridge!) from taking the title from under them. It could have been such a classic punchline for so many teams in the future: “Remember the 2010 Celtics? The old veterans that grinded through the regular season, then just gutted out the playoffs to steal the title from the Lakers?” The 2010 Celtics could have been used as the inspiring example for so many other older teams in sports. We could have been the latest fad in sports cliche.

Say what you want about the 2010 Celtics, America. Truly: fire away. Make the jokes. Criticize all you want. But if you put 4 guys over the age of 32 in the starting lineup (Sheed 35, Ray 34, KG 34, Pierce 32) and asked a coach to manage all of these strong (STRONG) personalities and get them to a game 7 in the Finals against the best team in the league (hands-down), how many of you would bet on that even happening?

No one else but these vets and Doc (and Danny) could have pulled this off. And the determination that this team had to play together and get to the finals is the only sports cliche I need. There is a punch-line to the story of the 2010 Celtics: it makes me proud to be a fan of this team.

  • I am proud that the starters on this team kept the same game plan all year despite everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) asking, actually demanding, that definitive changes be made. Start this person instead. Shift the offensive focus. Trade this guy. No. Doc liked this team, and he liked his plan all year. Play cut-throat defense, move the ball for the best look on offense. Stay with the guys that he trusted.
  • I am proud that this team went far and beyond all expectations for how this season would end.
  • I am proud that when their backs were against the wall during the playoffs, the Celtics came through on every occasion… except this last one. The tank was simply on empty.
  • I am proud that no one can really say that the Celtics didn’t bring it in game 7. They brought it, it just wasn’t enough.
  • I am proud that the face of our franchise isn’t a d*ckhead. (or a rapist)
  • I am proud that our coach isn’t a conniving, passive aggressive, fat piece of blubber.
  • I am proud that our general manager stuck with this team because he believed in them. If he had lost even an ounce of doubt, then you know Danny would have dealt Ray’s coveted expiring contract and other pieces. But he didn’t. And luckily, he didn’t.
  • I am proud that Doc Rivers was our coach in 2010.

And that’s it.

I think about what my celebratory dance would have been like if the Celts had one. With plenty of folks watching the game with me, I think about how jubilant of a time it could have been. There would have been a certain momentous high from watching the trophy being handed over to the Celtics front office and players. But, such is life.

I snuck outside, late in the evening after the game, and just sat there on a deck overlooking floating boats along the water. I was in one of the prettiest places on a calm night, and sent a text to some friends that weren’t there with me: “Shit.”

Did you think something philosophically conclusive was coming your way? Or even some kind of prophetic dose of optimism for the future?

No. Just raw, organic emotion: shit.

As the off-season begins, I will be posting here and there about rumors, signings, trades, etc. But really, the undertones of everything I write will be rooted in one subtle question: will the Celtics stay relevant next year and beyond?

Only time will tell.
Thank you, 2010 Celtics.

Yes, yes you are.

Yes, yes you are.

Sorry: it’s my off-season, too

July 24, 2010

Sorry if the blog has been, well, rather empty…
As a teacher with my summer off, I am pretty much away the entire time.

I’ll have more for all of you crazy cats in August about this funny off-season.

Lebron Is A Meathead

July 9, 2010

He always was, and will continue to be a meathead.
Good luck on South Beach with an overrated power forward without any playoff grit, a great slasher but streaky shooter at best, and zero supporting cast.

This is my lasting image of you, Lebron: throwing up bricks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and you giving up when it mattered most.

Lebron wimps out when it matters.

Lebron wimps out when it matters.

Best of luck, you egotistical dope.

Screw Lebron, Wade and Bosh: I want Pierce and Ray

July 1, 2010

Time to let the young fella carry the load as the next era begins.

Time to let the young fella carry the load as the next era begins.

Whew. What a wild couple of weeks we have had, huh? After losing a gut-wrenching game 7 to the Fakers, it’s been an utter apocalypse of speculation and quite frankly, of pure abomination. It has been downright annoying to flip around to all of my favorite basketball news sites and blogs to read about all of these unnamed sources saying where Lebron, Bosh, and D-Wade are going. I’m tired, tired, tired, tired of it. No one knows where any of them are going except each of the respective players. This whole charade couldn’t end sooner if you ask me: this free agency bonanza is going to continue as long the trifecta of LBJ, Wade, and Bosh are still on the table. I would love if all three signed in Miami and phase 1 was over so that everyone else can be put into place. The likelihood of this happening? I think pretty slim.

So let’s assume that two out of the three do end up on the same team (which I think is entirely realistic), and the other one is on a different team. Nearly every team with cap space to sign one or even two of these three fools is in the East, which means every expert from here to Lake Titicaca will expect that team to run away with it in the East. I like how this all plays out, actually.

And more importantly, I like what it means for a Boston Celtics teams that is looking more and more to reassemble itself together to look like the core team of 2008, 2009, and 2010. Yes, I am all for bringing back the core back together for two more reunion tours.

Wait, Loscy, did you say TWO more tours of duty? I had to say it: with KG on the books for $18.8 in 2011 and $21.2 in 2012, you can’t fully reconfigure this team with his contract as the big ass elephant in the room. It simply won’t happen. Since the Celtics do not have the cap space (WE DON’T) to sign a marquee player that will make an immediate impact, we don’t want to follow the road that so many other bad teams have desperately done in the past: after being unable to sign that big name free agent, a team will fight their way against other desperate teams and throw stupid money toward a second-grade free agent with a long-term deal. Hey Boston: we’ve been there before and we don’t want to go down there again.

I mean, that says it all, right?

I mean, that says it all, right?

So instead of trying to sign someone at the top of the free agency list, go much lower on the pecking order and see what you can dig up. Brad Miller? Not so much, Shaq? Not so much. Mike Miller? I like. John Salmons? I like. Josh Howard? I like. Entice them with anything you can that doesn’t put your team in jeopardy in 3 years, but helps NOW. Of course, others will have deeper wallets but that’s okay. Don’t get sucked into this silly desperation free agency game. Anyone ever heard of “the winner’s curse?” Yeah, this is the perfect example of that situation.

But just because we aren’t signing someone that is making headlines doesn’t mean that the dynamic and undertones of this team cannot change. Here is Loscy’s coaching corner moment: I do believe that Danny will make every effort to bring back Pierce and Ray to keep the core of this group in tact, but it’s going to be Doc’s job to sell how this team will re-chemistrify (made up word!) its modus operandi for 2010-2011.

Pierce’s disgusting display of turning away from Rondo after not receiving the ball during the final ticks of the first half in game 5 of the Finals nearly erased everything he had tried to bury for the last three years during the Celtics competitive run. Pierce had masterfully bought into the idea of playing as a team, and therefore winning as a team. Sharing the scoring load. Giving the final shot to Ray. Making the extra pass. Playing tougher defense. And nearly in an instant, we were all thrusted back to a younger Paul Pierce being overtly selfish. As many say, one small act shouldn’t destroy a lifetime worth of good deeds. The only problem? Pierce doesn’t have an extended history of being selfless… So to preserve the new attitude of the Pierce we have grown to love even more in the last three seasons, Doc needs to slap him around and say it’s time to really be a leader and give others a chance to lead. KG has accepted that, albeit forcefully because he cannot physically do what he used to, but emotionally he is still there to lift his teammates up when they need lifting. Pierce needs to now lift up his teammates by being the most selfless efficient scorer possible: pick your spots but realize that this team is now too big to be carried on your shoulders alone night in and night out. There will be times when you do carry this team because they need to, but you’re old enough and good enough to now know when those times are… and when those times are not.

Retaining Ray will only further this cause as you add a terrific wing shooter, someone who can talk where Pierce will listen, and most importantly, someone who has already bought into the system.

This may be the most important piece to this new 2010-2011 Celtics puzzle. Danny: don’t you dare sign anyone that doesn’t buy into this system. You need to ride out this core group for another 1-2 years and you can’t have anyone infiltrating that locker room that may even disturb the chemistry of these players. You’re in the Eastern Conference: you will make the playoffs with Rondo alone. Just like this year, just get to the playoffs and come prepared.

There it is, Rondo... Just pick it up and go.

There it is, Rondo... Just pick it up and go.

This is your bridge to Rondo. Rondo needs to the keys to the car, and not just told he has they keys. During games, Rondo needs to be more aggressive for the entire time he is on the floor, not just when he feels like there is an opening for him to assert himself into the game. Physically, his game is there. Free throws are the new challenge, as his jumper has fallen enough that players aren’t so quick to leave the man too wide open. As a 24 year old premier point guard, the only big obstacle that keeps him out of the conversation with the likes of Deron Williams and Chris Paul is his endurance. Not his physical endurance, but his mental endurance. Can he maintain that instinct to attack during an entire game? An entire stretch? An entire season? An entire playoff run? It’s not just about putting up triple double numbers every night, it’s about attacking and being there. If he ends up with a poor night of shooting, say 3-14, but all of his baskets were difficult layups in the paint… Then I can live with that. I can live with him not being a statistical anomaly each night as long as he just brings it every night. The only way to do this, though, is for Rondo to truly know that the team is his and he is now flanked with gritty vets that will play their role as best as they can while the artist-formally-known-as-Rondo goes to work.

No one can predict which team truly is good enough to win the title, but you know when your team can be at least competitive and relevant when the title discussion crops up. Even with this Celtics core, as old as they are, can still be competitive next spring. There is no way that people will forget this miraculous and genuinely crafty playoff run in 2010. If you discount this team next year, you’re only doing them a favor. There are no questions about game plans or the system itself. There are no questions about coaching strategy or how truly invested the front office is about winning. The only thing that matters is how mentally tough these guys stay as a team and if they can execute what they’re supposed to do on both sides of the floor. And of course, can the old farts make it to the playoffs healthy. With their backs to the wall, this core group of guys have proven that they can prevail through precipitous pressure even when everyone else has given up hope. So while Lebron, Wade, and Bosh find themselves in their new digs and without the familiarity of this thing called pressure, my chips will still be on the table in the green corner. I’m still all in for this Celtics team to return as in tact as possible, and I hope Danny is on the same page as me.

Loscy Welcomes Avery Bradley

June 25, 2010
Get ready to put that wingspan to use, buddy...

Get ready to put that wingspan to use, buddy...

He has a large wingspan and is a cagey perimeter defender. Ainge loves these types.
What does this mean for TA? Will he even stay on with the Celtics?

Regardless, welcome Avery Bradley.

A Sentimental Reflection About The 2010 Celtics

June 19, 2010

Ummmm. Yeah. We can still have fun at his expense.

Ummmm. Yeah. We can still have fun at his expense.

It’s too bad.
With about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, Rondo started on an epic drive to the hoop, shredding the Lakers defenders, leaping toward the hoop, and sinking a layup that put his Celtics up 49-36. A 13 point lead. In game 7. Of the NBA Finals.

I started to give the “I am really uneasy about this game but oh my god it really could happen but I am still really unsettled” type of look to the people around me. My buddy Sean had the exact look on his face.

I guess there was a reason for that we both had this look.

But I defaulted to doing what I hate doing: romanticizing about how this game was going to end before it was even over. With still almost 20 minutes left to play, just under half the game, I was thinking about how poetically just it would be for Kobe Bryant to win the NBA Finals MVP while the Celtics hoisted up the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kobe Bryant could then join Jerry West as the only other Finals MVP that was not on the winning team (1969 against none other than the Boston Celtics). How fitting would it be that one of the most self-indulgent and selfish players to ever play the game be marked as the single best player in a series but fall on the losing end of things? And that the only two people to be in this company would be the former General Manager of the Lakers that drafted his high school hot shot and years later would proclaim him as the best shooting guard of all time? Better than The Logo himself? Better than the cold-blooded assassin in a Bulls uniform? And finally, that Kobe could join Jerry West in saying, “I never beat the Celtics in the Finals.”

But as much as it pains me that this revisionist ending was not a reality, one where Kobe plays the fool, it pains me even more to see this Celtics team lose by 4 points after holding a 13 point lead in a game 7 in the Finals against the Lakers. I wanted this team of scrappy vets to win. I wanted professional basketball to reward guts and glory of a team instead of flashes of brilliance from a couple of individuals. I wanted a coach that has endured so much criticism for the way his management style played out this season to reap the benefits of trusting his instincts. I wanted the players to collapse on the court of their rivals knowing that they just won their second title in three years because they made a commitment to defense and playing team ball. The Celtics epitomize unselfish basketball through their help defense (ie, not throwing teammates under the bus) and they always make the extra pass to get a better look and defer to get other guys going– almost to a fault. This team deserve to win because of their character just as much as the Lakers deserved to win because they were simply the more skilled team.

No dice.

No dice.

As I said in my last post, I don’t recall in recent memory when a team up 3-2 in a 7 game series went into the decisive seventh game as an underdog. The Celtics were a mere 4 points away from stealing the Finals away from Kobe, Phil, and the Lakers. Really, the Celtics were a crazy three away made by an even crazier person (Ron Artest: Queensbridge!) from taking the title from under them. It could have been such a classic punchline for so many teams in the future: “Remember the 2010 Celtics? The old veterans that grinded through the regular season, then just gutted out the playoffs to steal the title from the Lakers?” The 2010 Celtics could have been used as the inspiring example for so many other older teams in sports. We could have been the latest fad in sports cliche.

Say what you want about the 2010 Celtics, America. Truly: fire away. Make the jokes. Criticize all you want. But if you put 4 guys over the age of 32 in the starting lineup (Sheed 35, Ray 34, KG 34, Pierce 32) and asked a coach to manage all of these strong (STRONG) personalities and get them to a game 7 in the Finals against the best team in the league (hands-down), how many of you would bet on that even happening?

No one else but these vets and Doc (and Danny) could have pulled this off. And the determination that this team had to play together and get to the finals is the only sports cliche I need. There is a punch-line to the story of the 2010 Celtics: it makes me proud to be a fan of this team.

  • I am proud that the starters on this team kept the same game plan all year despite everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) asking, actually demanding, that definitive changes be made. Start this person instead. Shift the offensive focus. Trade this guy. No. Doc liked this team, and he liked his plan all year. Play cut-throat defense, move the ball for the best look on offense. Stay with the guys that he trusted.
  • I am proud that this team went far and beyond all expectations for how this season would end.
  • I am proud that when their backs were against the wall during the playoffs, the Celtics came through on every occasion… except this last one. The tank was simply on empty.
  • I am proud that no one can really say that the Celtics didn’t bring it in game 7. They brought it, it just wasn’t enough.
  • I am proud that the face of our franchise isn’t a d*ckhead. (or a rapist)
  • I am proud that our coach isn’t a conniving, passive aggressive, fat piece of blubber.
  • I am proud that our general manager stuck with this team because he believed in them. If he had lost even an ounce of doubt, then you know Danny would have dealt Ray’s coveted expiring contract and other pieces. But he didn’t. And luckily, he didn’t.
  • I am proud that Doc Rivers was our coach in 2010.

And that’s it.

I think about what my celebratory dance would have been like if the Celts had one. With plenty of folks watching the game with me, I think about how jubilant of a time it could have been. There would have been a certain momentous high from watching the trophy being handed over to the Celtics front office and players. But, such is life.

I snuck outside, late in the evening after the game, and just sat there on a deck overlooking floating boats along the water. I was in one of the prettiest places on a calm night, and sent a text to some friends that weren’t there with me: “Shit.”

Did you think something philosophically conclusive was coming your way? Or even some kind of prophetic dose of optimism for the future?

No. Just raw, organic emotion: shit.

As the off-season begins, I will be posting here and there about rumors, signings, trades, etc. But really, the undertones of everything I write will be rooted in one subtle question: will the Celtics stay relevant next year and beyond?

Only time will tell.
Thank you, 2010 Celtics.

Yes, yes you are.

Yes, yes you are.

Shut Up, Fair-Weather Fans (And Game 7)

June 16, 2010

Will game 7 be decided in the paint? Probably.

Will game 7 be decided in the paint? Probably.

I am acting like a basketball snob, but I feel as if I have every right to be.

With my favorite team heading into a Game 7 of the NBA Finals, I have a right to expect that the best of the best of fans will do all three things:

  1. Root like hell for the Celtics
  2. Believe in the Celtics even if their level of play can be uninspiring
  3. Appreciate the fact that the Celtics are in the NBA Finals for the second time in three years and more importantly, find themselves in a winner take all series: go home with the title or go home asking what you could have done differently

A large part of game 7 will be in your hands, Sheed. Godspeed.

A large part of game 7 will be in your hands, Sheed. Godspeed.

But so many fair-weather fans are NOT doing this. My buddy Sean texted me during game 5 on Sunday and kept saying how aggravating it was watching this game at a bar. Fans were cheering as if we just won the series with every bucket, and sobbed with pure pissyness if it was a lost possession. Hey dumb-dumbs: it’s basketball. There are like 90+ possessions every game. You really expect each one to end with the two extra ticks on the scoreboard? Do you not realize that it’s the NBA Finals against arguably one of the best players/competitors/closers in all of basketball and the defending NBA champs? Do you not realize how old and hurt our team is? Do you not realize that it’s a 7-game series for a reason?

The name of the game is execution: everyone on the floor knows what their counterpart is going to do. It’s all about how well you do it, or how well you can stop the other guy from doing it.

I am getting tired of these new basketball fans that have caught the wave and excitement of this 2010 Celtics run telling me what they need to do to win. Here are the best of the comments:

  • “I mean, just play better defense. Don’t let them get into the paint.”
  • “They have to go to Pierce more. He’s the only guy that can score.”
  • “Rondo has to take over from the tip.”
  • “Just keep feeding Ray Allen. He’s one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA.”
  • “Doc needs to use Shrek and Donkey more in the game: gives the team instant offense.”

My question back to you, fair-weather fan: how do you expect to do this? You don’t think the multi-million dollar coaching staff has thought maybe, just maybe, the only the Celtics can win is to play better defense and force Kobe to be a volume shooter and make him neglect his teammates? You don’t think Pierce knows that he has to be an efficient scorer? I think you’re right about the fact that Rondo doesn’t realize that he needs to control the tempo of the game. We should write on his Facebook wall quickly!! Maybe Doc should just play 7 on the floor: the starting 5 AND Davis and Nate-Rob. Yeah. Genius.

Shut up. Just please shut up.

This is a time for fans that have followed this team for more than the last 2 months to enjoy, and most importantly, for kids to catch the wave. This is when you start building the legacy of life-long fans of any sport. When a kid realizes how magical, inspiring, and disappointing it can be to love sports. Kids in middle school and elementary school are exempt from being fair-weather fans: this is their time to romanticize about growing up to be professional athletes and learn to watch a game from beginning to end. To think about how physical and mentally skillful these athlete are, and to simply marvel at the wonder of sports. This is the time for kids to learn there there is a storyline in every game, and to understand past stores makes the current one that much more exciting.

I've been so impressed with Tony's body of work this entire playoff run: keep him in green, Danny.

I've been so impressed with Tony's body of work this entire playoff run: keep him in green, Danny.

But you fair-weather fans, stay away from me. Stay away from me if the Celtics win or lose on Thursday night. I might be more prone to drop kicking a fair-weather fan after the Celtics lose before inducing the same treatment onto a Lakers fan if Kobe picks up number 5.

Onward.

Perk’s knee has dramatically changed the landscape of this series. I am hoping that Bynum and Perk have simply canceled each other out, and we have removed the possible variable of #17 in a Laker uniform filling up the middle.

Why even go into analysis? The only thing I can say is the coaching staff and the players will have to earn their paychecks on Thursday night. Never has a team going into game 6 leading 3-2 looked like the underdog in game 7 like the Celtics do right now. But… This is why I love this 2010 team: they play their best ball with their backs against the wall and right now, their backs are nearly embossed into the wall.

I STILL BELIEVE.

Celtics in 7.

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